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Hiking Upper Yosemite Falls

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avatar Hiking Upper Yosemite Falls
December 27, 2007 07:53AM
I am camping in the valley at the end of March and was wondering if the Upper Yosemite Falls trail will be open.

Will I be able to make it all the way to the top, if my legs hold up?

Or, is there too much ice? Or it is closed?

Thanks!

Dan-O





Dan
avatar Re: Hiking Upper Yosemite Falls
December 27, 2007 12:17PM
I hiked it March 11, 2005. There was snow/slush for much of the upper portion of the trail and solid snow at the top, but hikeable!

I would say it all depends on what kind of winter we have. Remember 2005 was record-setting snowfall, yet the upper YF trail was open for business.

Here are some of the photos I took that day: http://www.hikeofyourlife.com/yosefalls_album.html/
avatar Re: Hiking Upper Yosemite Falls
December 27, 2007 12:24PM
avatar Re: Hiking Upper Yosemite Falls
December 27, 2007 06:11PM
Dan-O wrote:

> Thanks for the info and photos!
>
> It does look a little snowey at the top. You think I should be
> okay with my normal hiking boots?

I did it last February in a pair of leather backpacking boots with a Gore-Tex liner. In retrospect, a pair of gaiters (left behind at the hotel room and used the next day snowshoeing) would have helped. I just tramped through the snow in said boots and acrylic work socks.

You could do it snowshoes if the conditions warrant it. Of course that's 4-5 lbs strapped to your back if you don't need them.

> If snowey like that do I need aditional equiptment?

Gaiters. Perhaps wear some thermal underwear bottoms. I started off wearing a fleece (Windstopper) jacket a long-sleeve poly tee and a short sleeve poly tee. I ended up tying the jacket to my waist and pulled up the sleeves. I was overheating before I removed a layer, but could have put it back on if it got colder. It started off in the high 30's and sunny. It started getting a bit overcast. March should be better, but of course the weather is unpredictable. There are sometimes freak snowstorms.

Stay away from the edges. If there's snow, you can't exactly tell how stable it's going to be. I kept on falling on the way down, since it was so slippery where slush met granite. Tramping in snow was a lot more stable. I saw others doing the same thing. Wear gloves which should help reduce palm lacerations should you fall.

> BTW, I made one of your photos my desktop and everyone at work
> has commented how beautiful it is.

How about these from the aforementioned hike last February:


North Dome, Washington Column, and Half Dome from the Upper Yosemite Fall Trail.


The bridge over Yosemite Creek.


The view of Yosemite Creek from the bridge.

avatar Re: Hiking Upper Yosemite Falls
December 27, 2007 12:42PM
Dan-O wrote:

> I am camping in the valley at the end of March and was
> wondering if the Upper Yosemite Falls trail will be open.

It doesn't usually close at all unless there's a rock slide.

avatar Re: Hiking Upper Yosemite Falls
December 28, 2007 07:37PM
I'll admit I fell on my ass once coming back down.

But on the way up the slushy snow made for good footing and only hiking boots were needed. Once past the "trail closed" sign at the top of the switchbacks it was a matter of following other footsteps or picking your own route, and in mid-March 2005 despite the snow pack, there were many bare rocks above the top of the falls to sit and have lunch and warm up like a lizard. Temp up there was in the mid 60's and I had to shed layers and sat there in a T-shirt.

I did that, and between bites of potato salad called a friend in San Diego on the cell phone and said to her "you won't believe where I am right now." She was in the laundromat at the time...

I don't believe you would need snow shoes in mid to late March...just watch your step after about 2 p.m. because the sheer cliff on the west blocks the sun and that nice spongy slushy snow turns to ice in a hurry.
avatar Re: Hiking Upper Yosemite Falls
December 28, 2007 11:35PM
Vince wrote:

> I'll admit I fell on my ass once coming back down.

It's not hard to do on those foot polished rock steps.

avatar Re: Hiking Upper Yosemite Falls
December 29, 2007 08:21AM
Actually it was on a patch of ice...

Oh while you're at it take the unmarked detour to the south of the trail right around where it levels off between upper and lower fall, before the lower gate. There is a fenced off area where you can see the entire fall plus the middle pools, quite a sight, and quite scary!
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